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blood donor recruiting

As a Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) for Incept, I can say that I have been through many different call scenarios when it comes to professionally recruiting blood donors. What I’m here to talk about today is how focusing on the actual quality of the call can make all the difference when it comes to recruiting blood donors over the phone.

One thing I always keep in mind when making calls is the fact that I have a very small window of time to make the most positive impression I can on whoever it is that picks up on the other end of the line. First impressions are everything and so is the ability to be able to audibly feel out who it is you’re speaking with.

Get A Feel For Who You Are Talking To

One of the easiest things you can do as a Conversational Marketing Expert (CME) is be ready to emulate the donor.

If I am speaking to an elderly women who has been a lifetime donor for the blood bank I’m calling for, I’m going to want to speak more clearly, with more volume, more deliberately, and in a way that makes her feel comfortable to speak to me. If I am speaking with a donor who happens to be a businessman in downtown Chicago, I’m going to speak a little faster and try to be more direct about why I am calling. When speaking with a donor who has donated considerably and has a high level of loyalty, I am going to place most of my emphasis on acknowledging, recognizing, and appreciating their past support before asking them to donate again.

The key to building any sort of relationship between us as recruiters and the donors we talk to is always acknowledging and showing legitimate appreciation for any type of past donation. Saying “thank you” to a donor for their past support not only shows them that we do care about their efforts to help out, but it will also serve as a tool to establish rapport and get them to listen to your pitch.

  • New donors or donors who have recently made their first donation – When calling donors who might be new donors to the blood center we are calling for, I think it is of the utmost importance for a CME to go the extra mile to not only be incredibly appreciative, but also be available and open to answer any questions that that donor might have about their experience. Making these folk feel valuable is crucial to receiving their future support, which, ultimately, is the goal. We want to really drive home the fact that the blood bank we are representing truly relies on the volunteer blood donations of individuals like them.
  • Young donors (high school and college-aged) – Much like anyone who is a first time donor or a new donor, we need to be appreciative of what these younger donors have done by donating blood. We want to focus on speaking to them in a non-condescending manner (for example, avoid trying to talk to them like they are younger people or kids) and more in a way that promotes their future support. It truly does make all the difference to interact with them this way. If you are signing them up for a college blood drive, don’t be afraid to ask what their major is. Be considerate of their class schedule and ask them what time works out around their study time or class schedule to donate. You’d be surprised how often a busy college or high school student is willing to consider donating if just asked to do so. Emphasizing text message reminders for these folks is a great way to convey how easy it is to set an appointment.
  • Middle-aged donors (parents, business professionals, etc.) – The donors within this age range are most likely parents with families leading busy lives. For many of these people, donating blood is simply an issue of finding time between the many different responsibilities of running a household or working around their professional obligations. Acknowledge this. The key to speaking with these folks is to acknowledge that even though they might be busy, they are doing a great service to the local community by visiting their respective blood bank. Convey how easy it is to schedule even a week out from the current date and how they will receive a reminder call the day before just because we know plans can change. Many times folks will be willing to work with you and, if they are a long-time blood donor, might even ask you to wait while they check their calendar for the best date to come in. These are folks who, without a doubt, you will need solidly second attempt or your success will be limited. Many of these folks donate while at work or another sort of mobile drive. Be a step ahead by reviewing their previous donation history and looking for that same drive to see if it is available.
  • Elderly donors – Elderly blood donors are some of the most frequent blood donors. I have seen a good amount of blood donors of elderly age around the century mark for lifetime donations. That is quite impressive. All you need to do when speaking with an elderly donor is show them an old-school sense of respect while talking to them. Make them feel valuable for their contributions to their blood center. You should focus on speaking slower and with more volume. Voice inflection will be of huge importance when trying to be clear in your explanations and pitch. This age group of donors will naturally have more medical issues and limitations when it comes to donating blood, so never forget to be adamant about giving these donors the eligibility number for their blood center depending on their circumstances.

Why Does It Matter?

When it comes to blood donor recruitment over the telephone, the success of any Conversational Marketing™ Expert (CME) relies not on the ability to be able to read a script, but rather on the ability to translate and transpose different parts of the script in their own ways. The key is to sound less like you are reading a script and more  like you are simply talking.

Stay tuned for more expert advice and blood donor recruitment tips.

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Let's talk... results


This blog post comes to us from Incept’s Erica Heath.

Some of the most important aspects of influencing company atmosphere are how well you build trust, communication, and rapport with the employees. In an atmosphere such as Incept, it is important to take these things into consideration when building a team. Strong teams are comprised of a strong leader and employees who have excellent communication skills with one another.

A good team should run like a well-oiled machine—the members should take accountability for their actions and the actions of one another, as well as build each other up in times of need. Having a strong team can decrease company turnover while also increasing the quality of production. In order to build strong teams it may be necessary to do team-building exercises.

3 Great Team-Building Exercises

The following are some exercises that can be used to create better rapport among your team members:

  • Two Truths and a Lie – Go around the room and have each CME state two things that are true about themselves and one thing that is a lie. Then have the team members guess which one of the items isn’t true. This game helps everyone get to know each other better.
  • Common/Uncommon Interests – Break the CMEs into pairs by having them count off in numbers. Tell the CMEs that (with their partners) they should come up with a list of three things they both have in common and two things that they do not have in common. The answers should exclude work, body parts, clothing, and the like, to encourage learning more in-depth things about each other. Tell the CMEs that one person should take notes, and the other person should be prepared to present the items to the group. This helps the CMEs make connections with people they wouldn’t normally get to talk to.
  • Four Squares - Give each of the CMEs a sheet of paper and have them fold the paper into four squares. Come up with a topic for each square and have them draw pictures that describes themselves for each topic. For example, here are some sample topics: favorite sport, dream job, if you were an animal what would you be, etc. The drawings don’t have to be detailed; they can be as simple as stick figures. Give the CMEs a few minutes to draw their pictures and then have them show their drawings and explain how they pertain to their interests.

These team-building exercises normally work better with CMEs who don’t know each other that well. However, these exercises can also work with a team that needs to reconnect. Remember, there are a lot of team-building exercises that can be used to create a strong team, and strong teams produce better results—meaning more lives saved!

What are you doing to build up your team?

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Let's talk... results


This blog post comes to us from Incept’s Director of Contact Center Results, James Latsch. James works closely with the Client Results Team to develop a plan that helps our clients hit their goals. He then drives the plan’s execution internally to the contact center to deliver a quality product for Incept’s clients.

Numbers alone are not effective. They need to be applied to affect change. When supervisors share conversational quality audit reports with tele-recruiters in brief meetings (no more than 10 minutes), they have opportunities to congratulate tele-recruiters for things they did well, teach them to improve areas where they missed quality standards, and keep them motivated to continually grow. These measures ensure that conversational quality remains as important to tele-recruiters as it is to you.

A Step-By-Step Quality Audit Discussion

Let’s assume supervisor Demetrius is holding a Quality Audit discussion with tele-recruiter Janice, who received an audit score of 90%. The Quality Audit discussion might flow like this:

  1. Demetrius allows Janice to make herself unavailable for calls.
  2. Demetrius sits down with Janice, preferably in a neutral location away from the phones, to review her quality scores with her in detail.
  3. After presenting Janice’s Quality Audit Report to her, they review the specific things that caused her to receive 90 points. He congratulates her and reinforces her positive actions.
  4. Demetrius and Janice review the specific things that kept her from receiving the other 10 points. He clearly explains exactly how particular parts of conversations affected her score.
  5. After discussing these violations, Demetrius explains how Janice should handle similar situations to avoid future deductions.
  6. Janice and Demetrius engage in exploratory conversation, question/answer dialogue, and perhaps role playing.
  7. Janice is now clear on how to improve, so she sets performance and quality goals for her next Quality Audit.
  8. Janice signs and dates a copy of her audit.
  9. Demetrius photocopies the signed Quality Audit, and gives a copy to Janice so she can continue to refer to it as a reminder of the areas in which she must improve.
  10. Finally, Demetrius files the completed Quality Audit and notes in Janice’s personnel file.

How are you using audit reports to have meaningful conversations with your tele-recruiters?

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Let's talk... results


This blog post comes to us from Incept’s VP of Employee Results, Dave Walter. Dave oversees Training, Recruiting, Quality Assurance, Employee Results, Contact Center Results for the Results Division, and the teams of amazing people who fill each of the roles within these departments.

Some donor recruitment conversations will end in appointments, while others will not. Each one requires its own closing. Examples of how each conversation should end are as follows:

Closing Calls That End In Appointments

Donors who schedule donation appointments should feel good about their decisions.

  • Show renewed appreciation for the donor once again helping to save lives.
  • Be certain the donor knows everything necessary to ensure a successful donation, including pre-donation instructions like eating an iron-rich meal, drinking plenty of fluids, and bringing a photo ID.
  • Confirm the date, time, location, and address of the appointment.
  • Provide a phone number to call with any questions before the appointment.

Calls That Do Not End In Appointments

Donors who don’t schedule appointments should also feel good about their decisions.

  • Be positive. Ending the conversation on a positive note sets the tone for the next interaction and maintains a positive relationship between the donor and blood center.
  • Help the donor feel like they made the right decision. Show empathy. They may be ill, going through a difficult time, or simply having a bad day. Show that the blood center cares.
  • Open the door for future donations, should the donor’s situation change.
  • Provide a phone number or website to self-schedule in the future.
  • Before hanging up, let the donor know that the blood center appreciates their previous contributions.

How do you differentiate your closing statements?

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Let's talk... results


This post comes to us from Incept’s President and CEO, Sam Falletta. Sam is in charge of finding the right measurements to make sure that the right people are in the right position to produce the desired results for Incept’s clients.

Thank-you calls help to establish respectful, long-term relationships and build loyalty with those who selflessly donate life-saving gifts.

Timeliness is Crucial

Call donors the day after their donation to thank them for their generosity and reinforce how important their donations are to the community. Use personalized scripting for first-time donors, automated donors, and donors with special blood types and antigens.

Sincerity is Too

It is important that thank-you calls strengthen donor relationships without asking for anything in return. People do not like being called upon only when they are needed to give something. Simple thank-you calls let donors know you care about them. In addition to saying thank you, ensure that the donation experience was a positive one. If you have a donor loyalty program, recap details on how to check status and redeem perks as well.

If you reach a voice mail or answering machine, leave a brief thank-you message and a contact number to call with any follow-up questions or concerns. If there is no answer of any sort, try again the next day. But remember, you want to share your appreciation; you don’t want to become an annoyance with numerous phone calls.

How do  you thank your blood donors?

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This blog post comes to us from Incept’s VP of Employee Results, Dave Walter. Dave oversees Training, Recruiting, Quality Assurance, Employee Results, Contact Center Results for the Results Division, and the teams of amazing people who fill each of the roles within these departments.

If you know your prime times, staffing at the appropriate times is a relatively simple decision. But all too often blood donor recruitment departments are staffed from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. because that is when tele-recruiters or managers prefer to work. That, however, is typically the least effective time of day to tele-recruit. Our experience indicates that attempts to reach donors after 5:00 p.m. are 11% more successful. Set your Contact Center’s hours according to your donors’ preferences.

Identifying Ideal Staff Levels via Dials Per Hour

How many tele-recruiters to staff is also a relatively straightforward decision. You will need to know your Dials Per Hour. Here is the formula:

Simply multiply your Dials Per Hour times the number of days per week that your contact center operates. Then divide that number by 8 hours, which represents one Full Time Equivalent (FTE). That will tell you the number of tele-recruiters to staff.

If you suspect that your Dials Per Hour is low, look closely at whether your tele-recruiters are spending longer than necessary on phone calls and also how they are using non-productive time.

How are you staffing you blood donor recruitment center?

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Let's talk... results


This blog post comes to us from Incept’s VP of Employee Results, Dave Walter. Dave oversees Training, Recruiting, Quality Assurance, Employee Results, and all of the amazing people who fill the roles within these departments.

Your organization is nothing without donors, and a large portion of your donors won’t exist without your tele-recruiters. So, your tele-recruiters are your blood donor recruitment organization’s most important asset.

That said, many blood centers continue to treat investments in employees as expenses. They gladly spend large sums of money keeping up buildings, beautifying grounds, and updating computer systems; they pay high salaries for top organizational leaders; and they reluctantly (and often haphazardly) allocate only leftover resources to improving their front line assets – the human capital known as tele-recruiters.

You Get Out What You Put In

Every penny and every hour you strategically invest in helping tele-recruiters become as effective at recruiting donors as they can be increases the financial health and longevity of your organization and saves additional lives.

Accept at the front end that formal coaching requires significant investments of both time and money. What makes these investments worthwhile are the proven (and consistent) results they produce.

If done right, coaching is an employee benefit, and good tele-recruiters look forward to it. Not a day should go by without each tele-recruiter being coached or developed in some way.

What does coaching look like at your blood donor recruitment center?

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Let's talk... results


This blog post comes to us from Incept’s VP of Employee Results, Dave Walter. Dave oversees Training, Recruiting, Quality Assurance, Employee Results, and the teams of amazing people who fill each of the roles within these departments.

Coaching is such an important part of successful blood donor recruitment. By letting your Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) know what they are doing right and what they can improve upon, you are increasing your chances of meeting blood donation goals.

What Is The Sandwich Approach?

Consider using a “sandwich” throughout your Formal Coaching Sessions in order to balance your positives and opportunities to improve. Think of the positives as the bread of a sandwich.

Lead with positive discussion, transition into opportunities for improvement (never refer to them as problems or failures), and wrap up with more positives. This helps reinforce that you are there to help the CME, not to scold them.

Make Improvement Opportunities SMART

While discussing opportunities to improve, lead the tele-recruiter in defining SMART goals for the Follow-Up Coaching Session. SMART—an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistically high, and Time-bound—is a widely used and time-proven method for defining goals in a way that invites accountability and achievement.

  • Specific: No vague statements. For instance, I’ll get better at following the script,” is vague. Who is to say what “better at” means? I will follow the script,” on the other hand, describes exactly what the tele-recruiter is committing to do.
  • Measurable: In order to incorporate accountability, goals must be measurable. I will follow the script,” is specific, but as it is written, following it just one time is not enough. I will follow the script in 100% of my conversations with donors,” tells exactly how often the tele-recruiter will comply.
  • Attainable: Setting a goal unrealistically high only results in frustration and can be demotivating. Perhaps the tele-recruiter currently follows the script only 75% of the time. It may be that 100% of the time is too lofty of a goal for one week’s improvement. I will follow the script in 85% of my conversations with donors,” may be more attainable.
  • Realistically High: Nonetheless, goals need to stretch individuals. Improving from 75% to 85% in a week may be too easy. I will follow the script in 95% of my conversations with donors,” may be difficult but doable. It may be realistically high for the individual.
  • Time-Bound: Finally, there needs to be a date range within which the tele-recruiter will accomplish the goal. Because you will be meeting again in a week for Follow-Up Coaching, most often you will have the tele-recruiter set a goal to accomplish within a week’s time. I will follow the script in 95% of my conversations with donors in the next week,” locks in commitment and accountability.

What kinds of coaching methods do you use with your blood donor recruiters?

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Let's talk... results


This post comes to us from Incept’s VP of Client Results, Billie Johnson. Billie’s primary responsibility is assisting new and existing client organizations to realize the value and power of conversation. It is her job to help those organizations understand what really makes Incept special, which is putting them and their donors and customers at the center of everything Incept does.

Segmenting your database by the amount of time that has elapsed since a donor last donated—the “Donation Time Elapsed”—allows your script to present your tele-recruiter with the most important information to that donor. If you have automatic script-generated software, it should be programmed to utilize these and other details to customize the tele-recruiter’s script.

Many studies have shown that acquiring new customers costs significantly more than keeping the ones you have. Incept’s own experience shows that approximately 83% of all donations come from previous donors.

How To Segment Your Donors

Best practices suggest classifying donors using the following categories:

  • New Donors: no previous donations on file
  • Current Donors: 0-24 months since last donation
  • Lapsed Donors: 24-48 months since last donation
  • Super-Lapsed Donors: 48+ months since last donation

Recruiting New Blood Donors

Brand new donors need the full gamut – plenty of encouragement to help save lives, motivation through current promotions, information about the donation experience, instructions on how to qualify to donate at the site, and answers to any other questions they may have. On average, 40% of new donors will return and make a second donation, but the entire process must be executed with a great deal of customer service. Fear of something new is common, so encourage them to bring a friend or loved one with them for support. They will get comfort from not being alone, and you will get two donors!

Recruiting Current Blood Donors

Donors who have given recently understand how important their gift is. They need reinforcement that they are appreciated. Include education and promotions, but with current donors you’ll need to be prepared to answer more questions regarding donation eligibility. These donors understand the process, but a change in medical history may have changed their eligibility.

Recruiting Lapsed Blood Donors

Lapsed donors have usually gotten out of the habit of donating. They often require more education on how many donations are needed to sustain local hospitals, what blood products are used for which treatments, and acknowledgment of their previous donations. They also need reminded of how long it has been since they donated and how badly they are needed and missed; this information along with education and promotions are key. Many lapsed donors stop giving because they think they are unable (deferred) due to a medication or condition. Be sure to ask why they haven’t been in, debunk some myths, and update them on guidelines that may have changed since their last visit.

Recruiting Super-Lapsed Blood Donors

Super-lapsed donors have similar needs to lapsed donors, but need even more encouragement and greater detailed reminders of the process. A lot of care and compassion must go into speaking with a donor who hasn’t given in 5 or more years. Take the time to really educate and understand why they’ve stopped donating, tell them how much you need them, and ask what it would take to bring them in again. You’ll be surprised by the answers. Oftentimes, they simply need to right a wrong from a previous visit, clarify an address, or talk through a misunderstanding.

By segmenting your donor database and personalizing your donor script based on donation time elapsed, you will be able to increase the number of appointments made, units donated, and, therefore, results!

How do you segment your donors when recruiting them?

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This blog post comes to us from Incept’s VP of Employee Results, Dave Walter. Dave oversees Training, Recruiting, Quality Assurance, Employee Results and the TEAM of amazing people that fill each of the roles within these departments.

Why Do You Need Blood Donor Recruitment Scripts?

Scripting is essential for successful donor conversations. It allows Conversational Marketing Experts (CMEs) to engage with donors in a way that ensures uniformity, professionalism, and the freedom to really listen to the needs of the donor. The following are some of its benefits:

  1. Your organization preserves its brand by ensuring control over what is communicated.
  2. Supervisors can evaluate and compare tele-recruiters on a level playing field.
  3. Tele-recruiters provide uniform information to donors.
  4. Tele-recruiters consistently communicate in a professional manner.
  5. Tele-recruiters do not need to anticipate what to say next and can genuinely listen to donors.

How To Design a Blood Donor Recruitment Script

Poorly-designed scripts turn people off. Well-designed scripts engage people in conversation. Effective scripts are brief, conversational, appreciative, motivational, personalized and specific.

  • Keep it brief. People are busy with the rest of their lives when you call. A short script increases the likelihood that donors remain engaged and participate in the conversation.
  • Be conversational rather than formal. Formality makes a script sound forced and unnatural. It creates a barrier between the telerecruiter and donor. A conversational script fosters open communication and encourages questions and discussion.
  • Show appreciation. Giving blood is a very personal act of service. Donors offer part of themselves to save others’ lives. This act of kindness deserves recognition and appreciation. Because donors rarely see the results of their service, they need to hear how much both the patients and the blood center appreciate their time, compassion, and gifts.
  • Discuss loyalty programs and promotions. Reminding donors of special loyalty programs and promotions before asking them to donate can motivate donors who are on the fence.
  • Tailor the script to the donor’s history. Establish your credibility by using donation history to help form the script. For example, remind donors of the type of donations they’ve usually given, the location they usually select, and their blood types. This helps form a personal connection with donors. It lets them know they are not just names—they are generous, necessary, and unique, and the blood center recognizes them as such.
  • Make your request to donate specific. Vague requests are easier to turn down. For example, “Would you be able to come in and donate soon?” only invites a yes-or-no answer and can cut off a conversation prematurely. “Are you more available on weekends or weekdays,” on the other hand, invites further conversation.

How do your scripts compare?

Let's talk... results